What will happen if Alan Knill rejects the chance to become Sheffield United's footballing director
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Knill, who served as Chris Wilder’s assistant before the manager’s departure earlier this month, missed the defeat at Stamford Bridge after being granted permission to consider his options following the weekend’s developments.
However if, as expected, Knill declines the invitation, United’s hierarchy could choose to retain their existing structure and ask one of their footballing advisors to perform the role on an informal basis - advising and making recommendations to Wilder’s successor rather than taking-up a permanent in South Yorkshire.
Paul Heckingbottom, who was placed in caretaker charge when Wilder’s five year reign came to an end, admitted he wanted Knill to remain on staff in some capacity before the visit to west London.
But the former Wales defender is likely to be concerned that accepting would effectively mark the end of his coaching career at United and potentially prohibit him from working with Wilder in the future if he is tied to a binding contract. West Bromwich Albion and Celtic have both been identified as potential destinations for Wilder, who twice led United to promotion during his time at helm.
HRH Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has made no secret of his desire to overhaul their technical operations since becoming owner in 2019 - acknowledging the board’s displeasure with some recent signings influenced its decision to release funds for reinforcements during the January transfer window.
Although the proposal tabled to Knill would see him assume responsibility for devising United’s overall recruitment, development and playing strategy, directors will reconsider the situation if he elects to follow Wilder through the exit door.
Despite refusing to put a timescale on the process, United acknowledge it must be completed before Wilder’s eventual successor is identified and appointed to avoid any future complications or misunderstandings.
Meanwhile, Darren Currie, the nephew of United legend Tony Currie, and former Sheffield Wednesday and Rotherham United defender Graham Coghlan, will oversee Bramall Lane’s under-23’s squad for the remainder of the campaign after Heckingbottom stepped-up to replace Wilder.